It was a light slate of National League action, but we are back today with a pick after taking a brief one-day respite. A big weekend of series commences tonight, highlighted by Tanner Roarke and Kyle Hendricks linking up for a much-anticipated Nationals at Cubs (2:20 EST) series, and personally, I can’t wait to see Yu Darvish in a Dodgers’ uniform tonight, making his debut in the Big Apple against Jacob deGrom and the New York Mets. That has potential to be an absolutely dynamite game…
We’ve reached the 105-110 game mark, the trade deadline has passed (though there are still waiver claim moves to be made) so the stretch run is officially on. The Dodgers and Nationals are pretty obvious division winners, but the National League Central is still up for grabs. The Cubs LOOKED to finally be grabbing control of the situation, but with two straight losses, they remain just a game and a half ahead of the Brewers with the Cards and Pirates just 4 ½ and 5 ½ back respectively.
Let’s get to the marquee game on the schedule for tonight’s featured pick.
Today’s MLB Pick:
Los Angeles Dodgers -122 at New York Mets +118 (Total: 7.5)
Yu Darvish (6-9, 4.01 ERA **first NL start) vs. Jacob deGrom (12-4, 3.29 ERA)
Yu Darvish was the splashiest trade deadline move, a rare “all-in” push from the Dodgers; a franchise famously reluctant to part with its top young talent in pursuit or ‘rental talent’. But with Darvish’s multiple year existing contract, and his obvious immense talent, the Dodgers pulled the trigger.
Not to put a damper on things, but Darvish’s 2017 season hasn’t quite equaled the massive hype. He owns a losing record and a reasonable, but not dazzling, ERA of 4.01. It’s quite possible with a little more improved health and a move to the National League that he comes alive; but the pressure will also be pretty immense as the expectation is that he merely replaces Clayton Kershaw while he’s on the DL. Easy, right??
Meanwhile, deGrom enters with close to a run lower ERA, and a career ERA of just 2.94 in five starts against the Dodgers. Yes, the Dodgers are SCARY good right now. They are a mind-blowing 76-32 and have won 10 of their last 11 games. But good pitching, no less GREAT pitching, can thwart any team when it’s cruising along. deGrom has been the lone bright spot for the Mets, winning eight starts in a row before having that streak snapped in his last outing.
I like the underdog value of deGrom. We saw yesterday a similar situation with Sonny Gray; huge expectations for a new pitching savior, only to have it go a different way. Gray was good, errors played a role, but he wasn’t instantly perfect. I expect the same from Darvish tonight; a good outing, but nothing special. Meanwhile, deGrom has only allowed two or one run in his last four starts, all quality starts, and has struck out 32 batters.
Today’s MLB Pick: NEW YORK METS TO WIN +118